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Eric Greitens Education. (2012) 'The Warrior's Heart Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage.'

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Navy 33, Us 12, Afghanistan 7, Bruce 6, Iraq 6, Rwanda 5, Ding 5, The Navy 4, St. Louis 4, Logan 3, Bosnia 2, Florida 2, Bruce Carl 2, Julian 2, Eric Olsen 2, Sean Donahue 2, Adam Burke 2, Kaitlyn 2, Israel 2, America 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Eric Greitens  Education.  (2012) 'The Warrior's  
   Heart Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage.'  

    November 23, 2012
    8:00 - 9:00am EST  

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>> was american university put in beirut on purpose? in the 1850s what was the root like? >> the route was and still is very multi-cultural cosmopolitan international city. .. >> guest: but the american presence was no greater anywhere else, and lists in addition to being ambitious, visionary and practical and compassionate was very patriotically american. he wanted to create a school that was not going to be
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controlled by other nationalities or other interests. he wanted to create a school that represented the american model of education, that lived american values and that gave people in the middle east an awareness that an american education was something that would benefit their lives every day in tangible ways. and he succeeded. >> host: why is it important to tell this story, in your view? >> guest: because i think most middle easterners and americans, for that matter, are unaware of in this longer, deeper humanitarian dimension of america's involvement in the middle east. when we think about our involvement in the middle east, it usually centers on oil, israel and military security. and middle easterners feel likewise. they don't think about what are the longer roots of american involvement that have nothing to do with oil, israel, the deployment of combat troops to protect our interests.
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>> host: brian sand mark, his most recent book, "american sheikhs." this isz3 booktv on c-span2. >> up next, author eric greitens talks about his book, "the warrior's heart," an add adaptan about becoming a navy seal. it's for young adults. this is just under an hour. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you so much. that was great. can i get a round of applause for will? [cheers and applause] fantastic, buddy, thank you. thank you very much. thank you. one of the things that's fun for me about being here tonight, as gary mentioned, i am from florida. i am from st. louis, and i have some wonderful people who shaped
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my life. right here in the front row, my second grade teacher, so, please, help me to welcome pat. [applause] and i know that if this book can have the kind of effect on just one person's life that pat and my other teachers had on me, this will be a very successful book. so thank you very much for being out here tonight. i appreciate it. and i'm going to begin, i'm going to begin the book reading right from the very beginning of the book where i ask young people to imagine themselves in the navy seal training, and this is how it starts. you stand in freezing water up to your chest. every muscle in your body throbs with pain. you're exhausted beyond anything you could ever imagine, and all around you the night air carries the curses and groans of others who are gutting it out like you, who are trying to survive the night.
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most won't. maybe one in ten will make it through this week, will survive hours, days of the punishment required to become a navy seal. the water is dark around you, but you can make out lights on the beach. you remember your instructor's words as the sun drifted toward the horizon, tear voices booming over the bull horns. say good night to the sun. tonight is going to be a very, very long night. you imagine another hundred hours of this. you see yourself plunging over and over into the icy water, pulling yourself out again. you imagine endless repetitions of sit-ups, flutter kicks, push-ups. surf torture, they call it, when they leave you in freezing water. not just for a few minutes, but for five more days. five days of struggle and uncertainty. five days of physical and emotional torment, made to separate the iron-willed from the merely strong. in the distance a bell sounds
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three times, and then another three times. if you hear the bell, you know that another student has chosen to quit. a voice rises and falls, taunting you, inviting you to do the same. quit now, and you can avoid the rush later, it says. one by one, sometimes in clusters, other students surrender. all around you, all around you they climb up out of the ocean, walk up the sand hill, and they ring the bell. for them it is the end. the others if your crew strug -- in your crew struggle along with you, and it's their or companionship and tear strength that buoys you. you are there for one another. you are a team, and you do not want to quit on your team. but you are bone tired and shivering. you're afraid you'll never make it through the night, let alone an entire week. onshore stands a brightly-lit tent. others are gathered inside,
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their palms cupping mugs of warm coffee. they are wrapped in blankets. they are warm. you could be one of them. all you have to do is rise out of the icy water and walk toward the tent. it's easy. students have been doing it all night. just get up, get out, walk toward the bell and quit. then you could be warm and dry like the others. then your stomach could be full, and you could feel your fingers and toes again. all you have to do is get up, get out and ring the bell. what do you do? now, this was just one of the tough choices that we had to make when we were in the navy seal training. in the navy seal -- one of the things we talk when you have to make tough choices is we talk about making tough choices on the front line. we talk about the front line as the place where you come in contact with the enemy.
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the front line is the place where you are most challenged. and yet the fact is that every person and every young person also has in their life, they have a front line. and for young people that front line is the place where they're challenged, that front line is the place where they come up against hardship, where they come up against difficulty. and on the front line it's important for young people to find ways to navigate those challenges successfully. and what i know is that if they make the right kinds of choices on the front lines, that all of them have an opportunity to create themselves. that we create ourselves on the front line because on the front line is the place where we can grow. and if we make the right choices on the front line, we all have an opportunity to become people of compassion, we all have an opportunity to become people of courage, and we also all have an opportunity if we make the right choices on the front line, we all have an opportunity to develop our gifts, to develop our strengths, to develop our
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abilities so that we can find a way to be of service to the people around us. and if you think about how you make those decisions, one of the things that we do in the navy seal team is we have an analogy about how you make tough choices in your life on the front line. and we talk about how you use a compass. what we know is that if you take a compass and you point it in a particular direction, that you can walk all day, and and you might walk over mountains, you can walk through a forest, you can walk through a desert, and what happens is at the end of the day you end up in one very particular place. we also know that if at the beginning of that journey you make a decision that you're going to make a change of course, and you might make a change of course of just one or two degrees in your life, but you decide you're going to make a change of course of one or two degrees, and then you start to walk that new path, and you can walk it over mountains, through
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a forest, through a diss earth, what happens is -- desert, what happens is at the end of the day you end up in a completely different place. and we know for those who are going to read "the warrior's heart," what i know is they're at a place where they're challenged, and they should be at that place where there's hardships and difficulties, and they have to act with courage. and i've written "a warrior's heart" so they can think about how they make choices in their life, so that over time they can make choices so that they can create themselves so that they can become people of compassion, they can make choices that allow them to develop courage in their lives, so that also they can all get to a place where they can figure out how they can use their own abilities, develop their ownal rents, develop their -- talents, develop their own strength so that they can be of service to the people around
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them. in our lives none of this happens on our own. as i mentioned, not only is pat here, but in the book, you know, i dedicate this book to my teachers, the teachers who i had in elementary school, parkway junior high and high school who all shaped my life. and what i know for sure is that in our lives we all have to have the right kinds of teachers and role models, and in "the warrior's heart," i've tried to put in lots of stories about role models who can help young people think about how we make these tough decision cans on our own front lines. and one of the people who i write about was one of my mentors, a guy named bruce carl, who ran a program called youth leadership st. louis. and when i was 16 years old, bruce carl once invited me to go down to work at a homeless shelter in downtown st. louis. as a kid, i'd done a lot of community service work before, and i'd done some things at a
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homeless sherlt, but what bruce said to me was not only are you going to go down to the homeless shelter, he said i'm going to take you and other students down, and what i'm going to ask you to do is actually spend the night there. i want you to spend the night in the homeless shelter. and what bruce said that was really powerful is it's important for you to understand how all of your neighbors are living. and one of the things that i've tried toot in "the warrior's heart" is ask kids to step into the shoes of rwandan refugee children, step into the shoes of navy seals to think about the kinds of choices that they would make so they can exercise their moral imagination and think about the world. now, one of the other things that bruce did that was really powerful for me was that bruce also said to me, he said it's important for you to understand how your neighbors are living because you can do something about it. what was so nice is bruce didn't say you can do something about
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this after you've graduated from high school. he didn't say you can do something about this after you've graduated from college, not after you turn 30. the message bruce gave to me at the time was you can do something about it right now. and part of the message i want to give to kids in "the warrior's heart" is also that they have the ability right now to make a difference in their schools, they have the ability right now to make a difference in their communities, and they have an ability right now to use their strengths and talents to make a difference in the world. and i know from the experience that i had doing international humanitarian work the incredible difference young people can make in their world. one of the stories that i write about in "the warrior's heart" was my experience working with bosnian refugees. so the photographs that i took here i took when i was 20 years old. the photograph of bosnian refugees just as they stepped off of the buses into the refugee camp. and at the moment that you're looking at everyone here,
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they've all lost every material possession they'd ever owned. and not only had many of them lost material possessions, some had also lost friends and families. and in "the warrior's heart "i ask young people to think about what it would be like if you suddenly lost your home, your cars, if you lost everything in your room, if you lost everything that you owned and you had to get on a bus and go into a refugee camp and start a new life. one of the things i know is it was lard -- hard for a lot of the people in the refugee camps. they had a lot of tough choices they had to face. one of the things i saw was that in the camp it was often very hard for the young people because they felt like their life had been cut short. tremendously difficult. they lost their homes, they lost all their material possessions, they lost friends and family, and they felt like their life
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had been cut short, yet they didn't yet feel like anybody else was counting on them. they didn't feel they had any social purpose in the camp. and the kids i saw who were doing the best in the refugee camp were often the young people, sometimes 12, 13 years old, who made a decision that they were going to volunteer. and one of the things they started to do was they started to work with some of the youngest kids in the camp. you think for a second, think about what it's like to make sure that we're able to provide a quality education to every single young child in st. louis. think about how difficult that is. and then you think about what that challenge is like in a refugee camp. you think about what that's like. there's no classroom, there's no curriculum, no buildings. you think about that challenge. part of the reason why they were able to do that successfully in the refugee camps was because a lot of young people stepped forward and said i'm going to find a way to volunteer, i'm going to find a way to serve. one of the lessons in "the warrior's heart" is if you're at
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a place in your life where there's hardship, you actually become stronger when you find ways to be of service in your school, you find ways to be of service in your community, and you find ways to be of service in the world. not only does it help the people around you, but it actually makes you stronger. and what was neat for me to see was how this started to take off in the refugee camps. there was one boy who was 15 years old, and he had no budget, he had no supplies. all he had was one soccer ball. and what he would do every afternoon is he would take the soccer ball out, and there was an open field near the catch, and he set up a soccer game for some of the youngest kids in the camp. and one of the messages we also wallet to get a across in "the warrior's heart" is that the message for young people is that you can find a way to serve right now. in this tough place, if all you have is a soccer wall, there's still -- soccer ball, there's still a way to serve. we can all find a way to make a
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contribution. now, i walk young readers through a lot of the adventures that i had in my own life, and one of the places that i take them to is rwanda. i was working in rwanda, this was in 1995, it was a couple months after the genocide where many will remember 800,000 to a million people were killed. i went to rwanda to work specifically with unaccompanied children. these were kids who had lost their parents during the genocide or had been separated from their parents during the refugee movement. and again, i ask young readers to think about their own experience and to imagine themselves if they were a rwandan refugee child who was living together, who's living in the camp. these four boys who you're looking at were part of a group of 15 boys that were all living together and alone in the refugee camp. and i ask the readers to imagine
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themselves as part of this group. you've learned what you need to do to survive. you've created a shelter for yourself. you are healthier than so many others. you grab food and water when it's given out, hiding some away for when the supply runs dry. one day as you lie in the shadows beneath the blue tarp that stands beneath you and the blazing sun, you hear a sound. you roll over and press your hands against your ears, but the sound evens you still. it is a little child crying. sighing, you rise and lee the comfort of -- leave the comfort of the shade. in front of your shelter stand two little boys. they are barely clothed, and tears leave trails on their faces. they stand there crying and scared. you could take them into your shelter and share what little you have. you could help try their tears, give them sips of water, make sure they are not injured. but you have yourself to worry
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about too. you have yourself to worry about too. and everything you give to them is something you take from yourself. if you don't offer, they might find help elsewhere, or they might die. the sun beats down hard. they stand and look at you. you could yell at them, scare them away, or you could stand aside and let them in. what do you do? what do you do? we ask young people to imagine themselves in that tough situation and think about what they would do. and one of the messages that we have for young readers is that many of them might not necessarily be in a situation right now where they have to make life and death decisions about actually saving other people's lives. but all of them are in a position today where what they do can shape the life of other people around them. and that's in their classrooms, in their schools, in their communities. they all have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other people. and the way that they do that, one of the ways that we
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suggesting that they do that is to think about some of the lessons that i learned from this group of boys. this group was led by a 16-year-old boy. when i asked that 16-year-old boy to tell me about all of the other kids who were in the group, i'll never forget, he says to me, he says, this one is powerful with fire and with cooking. this one is powerful with the soldiers from zaire. they like him. and as he went around the group, he described every single boy as being powerful in some way. and i think there i saw part of the power of his achievement. think about what that 16-year-old boy was able to do, to keep 15 boys together and alive through months of disease and deprivation in the camp. and the only reason i think why he was able to do that so successfully at this place in his life where he was facing difficulty and pain and hardship, and he was afraid, the only reason he was able to walk that path was because for him he knew that he didn't have to walk
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it alone. he was walking in his case with these other, with these other young boys and that he had the true humility that allowed him to look at every single person around him and see that every single person could contribute in some way. that that was part of the power of his service at that moment. now, for me, um, in my own journey as we take young readers through, one of the things as we leave rwanda and leave places like bolivia and cambodia where i did international humanitarian work, eventually, i take them into the navy seal training. and for me when i went, when i left the humanitarian work and went to the navy sale training -- seal training, i went to a place called b.u.d.s.. it is the basic navy seal train, and it's often considered to be the hardest military training in the world. in my class, 237, we started with over 220 people in our original class, and by the time
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we graduated we were could be to 21. -- we were down to 21. now, what happens over the course of that training is that every single day they hit you with a different test, or they hit you with a different challenge. so i take young readers through some of those challenges, for example, like they ask you in the very first week, they ask you to come up to the edge of the pool, to jump in, do a front flip underwater and swim 50 meters underwater. it's one of the first challenges in the first week of training. later they ask you to tie down 50 feet, tie a knot and come back up. they have you do fireman carry drills where you throw somebody else down the drills, and you've got to run down the beach through soft sand or through a pass in the mountains. they ask you to land small rubber boats on jagged rocks, often times in the middle of the night. and there's one evolution that's called drown proofing. and what happens in drown proofing is that they tie your feet together, and then they tie your hands behind your back.
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and then with your feet tied together and your hands tied behind your back, you have to jump into the pool. and with your feet tied together and your hands tied behind your back, you then have to swim 50 meters. you come back, you're in the 9 foot section of the pool, you sink down to the bottom of the pool, press up. grab a quick breath of air, and then you sink back down. the next thing they asked us to do when they first told us they had to do it, i actually laughed out loud because i thought they were kidding. the next thing we're going to do, we're going to take your face mask in the water, it's going to sink down to the bottom of the 9 foot section, and with your feet tied together and your hands behind your back, you're going to grab the face mask with your teeth, swim up to the surface and back down five more times. the instructors would always
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call them evolutions. so the instructors would say the next evolution is drown proofing, or the next evolution is the 50 meet underwater swim, or the next evolution is a two mile -- and i had no idea why they were always calling them evolutions. i thought why don't you just call them the next test or the next challenge or the next really painful thing that we have to do. [laughter] and then finally, one of the instructors explained to me why they called them evolutions. what they said was, he said every time you're on the front line and you make a decision, you make a voluntary decision that you are going to confront your fear, he said what happens is that your character evolves. every time you make a voluntary decision that you're going to move through pain in order to serve a larger purpose, your character evolves. every time you make a voluntary decision that you're going to do something hard, you're going to do something difficult, you're going to do something where you
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might even suffer in order to become stronger, what happens is that your character evolves. and the idea is that they were going to create evolution after evolution after evolution so that eventually all of us could get to a place where our characters had reevolved, and -- evolved, and we had become navy seals, and as navy seals we could find a way to be of service to the people around us. and what i know for young people, and this is true for all of us, is that if we think about what it actually takes to make the tough choices and to walk this path so that we can develop courage, so that we can develop compassion, so that we can develop our own abilities to be of service to other people, what i know is that when we walk this path, it's going to be hard. and we're not going to be successful every day. it's going to be difficult, and we're going to run into hardships, and we're going to be afraid. but what i also know is if we move through that fear, we become courageous. if we move through that pain, we achieve wisdom.
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if we move through the things where we're suffering, we actually become stronger, and every single person can through a process of evolution, they can come to a place where they develop strength, where they develop courage, where they develop wisdom, and they can use that strength and that courage and that wisdom to be of service to the people around them. now, as you continue with the training, the pinnacle of the seal team training comes in a week that is considered to be the hardest week of the hardest military training in the world. and it's a week that's called hell week, and what happens in hell week is that the average class sleeps for a total of 2-5 hours over the course of the entire week. and as you're going through the training you've got physical training on the beach with logs that weigh several hundred pounds, running races with your teams in and out of the ocean. the water off the coast of san diego, as many of you might know regardless of season, is often in the low to mid 50s. they make sure you have plenty of time to appreciate the water.
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[laughter] they have you running the obstacle course throughout the week. and it is a week of constant chaos and change and challenge and confusion. and if you ever want to quit at any time in hell week, all you have toot at anytime in the training, all you have to do is raise your hand and say i quit, or you can raise your hand and say i drop on request. or there's a small bell, and if you walk over to that bell and you ring it three times, it means that you've quit. now, what the instructors would do during hell week is they'd rig up this little contraption so that wherever the class went, the bell would follow us. and if you asked the instructors why do you do that, why do you follow us around with the bell and make sure it's never more than 30 or 0 yards away from the class, the instructors will say we do that because we believe in excellent customer service. [laughter]
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so what they do is they follow you around with this bell as you're going through hell week. and i can remember what was for our class the hardest moment of the hardest week of the hardest military training in the world. and that moment came at the beginning of the second night. so for a lot of people, their adrenaline had carried them through the first night and the next day, and we arrived at the beginning of the second night, and we're thinking to ourselves i am more tired and more exhausted and more beaten than i have ever been in my entire life, and we're thinking i cannot believe this is only the beginning of the second night. at which point you'd hear one of the instructors get on their bull horns and say, that's right, gentlemen, it's only the beginning of the second night. [laughter] and what they did then at the beginning of the second night was they took the class out, and they lined us up on the beach to watch as the sun was setting. they all lined us up on the beach to watch as the sun was setting. and as the sun was going down, the instructors came out, and they got on their bull horns, and they started to get inside
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people's minds. they said say good night to the sun, gentlemen. we're watching the sun. tonight is going to be the most painful night of your lives. we're watching the sun go down. this week just gets more miserable as we go. and we're watching the sun go down. and i can remember i was standing there, and i saw out of the corner of my eye that something broke in the class. and people started running for the bell. running for it. and you could hear it going off ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. we had more people quit our class at that moment than quit at any other time in all of the training. this was what was amassing about that moment. -- amazing about that moment. they ask you to swim 50 meters underwater, swim down 50 feet and tie a knot, they make you jump in the pool with your hands tied behind your back. who would have thought that the hardest moment of the hardest week of the hardst military
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training in the world would come when all they had actually asked us to do was to stand on the beach and watch the sunset. that's all we had to do at that moment was stand on the beach and watch the sun set. when i'm with young people, i always ask them how many times have you been able to go out and stand and watch a sun set? every single one of them knows they can do it, every one of us can stand and watch a sun set. what was so interesting about this moment is i told you we went from over 220 people down to 21? i can count on one hand the number of people who i saw quit when they were actually doing something. what would happen is people would quit when they started to think about how hard it was going to be. that's when people would quit. when they started to imagine how difficult it was going to be, how hard it was going to be, that's when people would quit. so one of the things we know is the case for young people is when we think about having to do things that we're afraid of in
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our life, when we think about what it takes to challenge ourselves on the front line and to move through hardship and difficulty, one of the lessons is one of the things we need to do is just find a way in our own lives to take it one step at a time. if we can find a way to take it one step at a time and confront our fears and to do our work, all of us can find a way to make it through those things that are difficult, develop our own abilities, become people of compassion, become people of courage and find ways for us to be of service. and now for me when i finished with the navy seal training, um, i deployed four times. i first went to afghanistan and then to southeast asia and then to the horn of africa and then finally to iraq. and in the warrior's heart i talk a little bit about my experience in iraq where i was on the front line. and in march of 2007, i was serving as the commander of an al-qaeda targeting cell in iraq. my unit's mission was to capture
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mid to senior-level al-qaeda leaders in and around the city of fallujah, iraq, and in march of 2007 my team came under attack with a mortar attack in the morning. and after several mortar rounds went off, what happened was that there was of a suicide truck bomb that went off. and when the suicide truck bomb went off, it ended up taking out the entire western wall of our barracks. and that day, later that day, i was taken to the fallujah surgical hospital. i had minor injuries. 72 hours later, i was able to return to full duty. but what also happened was there were some of my friends who were hurt a lot worse than i was. and one of the things that i say to young people is for a lot of the people who i went to visit when they came home, i saw that they were on this new front line. these were veterans, strong, proud people who had served in places like iraq and afghanistan, and they came back and especially after they'd been
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injured, they had to make a decision about the direction that they were going to head. they had to make a decision about how they were going to deal with pain, how they were going to work through difficult thety and hardship in order to find ways to continue to be of service here at home. and what i found was that all of the men and women who i talked with when i came home -- i went to bethesda naval hospital, and i started talking with young men and women. i talked with people who had lost both of their legs, one young man lost the use of his right arm, i talked with another who'd lost most of his hearing. and when i asked all of them what do you want to do when you recover, every single one of them said i want to return to my unit. the reality was for a lot of those men and women, they were not going to be able to return to their unit. the reality was, though, that on this new front line all of these men and women who who had come k from their service, all of them wanted to find a way to continue to serve. so i took my combat pay from
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iraq, two of my friends put in money from their military chengs, and we started the mission continues with the intention of challenging veterans who had come home to find ways on this new front line in communities across america to find ways to continue to serve and to continue to inspire. so we work with men and women like josh ecoff from st. louis, missouri, who came home and had a serious traumatic brain injury. men and women like sean donahue who also had a traumatic injury. amanda, ian st. who came back with -- smith who came back with post traumatic stress disorder. julian who served in the united states marine corps who was shot by a sniper, adam burke from florida who was hit by a mortar round. all of them came back, and what we share with young people when we do this work at the mission comets, what we share with young people is they were at a place in their life where they were on a new front line, and many of them were afraid, and it was
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difficult. and what we did with them at the mission continues was we challenged them. we challenged all of these men and women in the same way that we challenge young people in "the warrior's heart." we challenged them to continue to find a way to continue to serve. adam burke, who was hit by the mortar round, set up his own nonprofit called veterans farm. julian served with habitat for humanity. sean donahue became a youth hockey and football coach. ian smith did a fellowship at the mission continues and then did an internship at the white house with the first lady's office for her joining forces initiative. melissa ended up becoming a biology teacher for part of her fellowship. and all of them, today started to serve again, and they took on this challenge of finding a way to continue to serve on their new front line. and what we found at the mission continues is that all of them have been able to serve as inspiration for young people around the country.
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and i finish the book, i finish the book with this challenge for young people: you pause over the last page. your own life feels filled with possibilities. you think about the kind of story that you might tell one day about your life, your loves, your service, your adventures. the road before you is long. it will wind up steep hills and down into low valleys. there will be moments of spectacular beauty along the way and times of deep pape. but as you take -- pain. but as you take each step, you have the opportunity to create yourself. you have the opportunity to become compassionate, to become courageous. you have the opportunity to become committed to causes greater than yourself. you will be inspired, and you will inspire others. and you'll find your own unique path. the world feeds you. -- the
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world needs you. we need all of your strength, your creativity, all of your heart. you can make a positive difference in the lives of ores. take it one step at a time and know that it's up to you. the world is waiting, what will you do? and my final note to all of the young readers is i say to them, go be great. and then i offer them in the very last chapter, in the very last chapter it's called "your mission," and i tell them that they are at the heart of this book and that i wrote it with them in mind. and i direct all of them to a mission planning guide that we've set up that accompanies the book so so that young people around the country can figure out how they take their skills and their passions and their interests, and they can turn the things that they love and the things that they care about into their own mission of service in their community and in their country. one of the things that we're trying to do is to help young
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people do what we all need to do in our lives, is to find their own vocation. and we talk about a vocation as the place where your great joy meets the world's great need. and what we know is that if young people start at a young age to pursue these missions and to do this work, that all of them can find ways in their lives to create a life of purpose where they become courageous and compassionate. and we also know that this is only possible just as it was possible in my life because of wonderful teachers. and so we built a teacher's guide to help teachers teach this book and teach some of these lessons to young people and to really spread this message that all of them are capable of creating themselves, and all of them are capable of making a contribution. one of the most fun things that i have had a chance to do over the course of the past week is to talk with young people around the country about "the warrior's heart." and for me it's been a tremendous labor of love, and
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i'm really grateful for all of you to come out and share this day with me. thank you very much for having me. [applause] i think that we have, we have time for some, we have time for some questions. so i'd be happy to take some questions from the audience. >> hello. how does a humanitarian in situations of such tremendous loss particularly with young people become inspired to pursue a mission as a highly-trained military asset for the u.s. army -- or for the u.s. navy? >> sure, yeah. great question. so part of it was -- and i write about this in the book, you know, there was one moment when i was in bosnia, and i was actually in a shelter in a refugee camp, and i was with one man who had, who had his own
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family had suffered tremendously. and i was in the shelter with him, and i remember he said to me, he said, you know, i appreciate the fact that you're here, he said, don't get me wrong. he said i appreciate the fact that there's a shelter here for my family, i appreciate the fact that my kids can go to a kindergarten, and i'm glad there's food here, but he said if people really cared about us, they'd be willing to protect us. and i didn't know what to say to him at the time. i was only 20 years old. but i remember reflects on that later and realizing that what he said was true, that if there's anything in our life that we really do love, that we really do care about, that we're willing to respond to it of course with care and with compassion, but it's also the case of the things that we care about in our lives, the things that we love that we're always willing to act with courage, and we're willing to protect people, and we're willing to love them in that way. so i started to think about what it meant to really care about something and to live a life with both compassion and courage, and i became convinced
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during my time in bosnia and in rwanda that there were times when people with strength needed to step forward and use that strength in order to protect other people. and that's what got me thinking about the united states military. i was very fortunate, also, boast who of my grandfathers -- both of my where grandfathers hd served in world war ii, and that also led me to think about the military. i joined relatively late, i was 26 years old, but i still harbored desires that i had to jump out of plains and to scuba dive, and that also attracted me to the navy seal team. so all of those things really shaped my path into the team. >> i enjoyed your speech. >> thank you. >> you know, after the attack the gentleman came out writing the book that was supposed to be in regards to the navy seals about the bin laden attack. obviously, there were a lot of threats on him and his family. you've been retired navy seal,
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has in the happened to you? >> sir, it has not happened to me. i think what happened in that case is that there were -- it was a very specific mission, and there were concerns about the very specific classified and sensitive information that was actually contained in that, in that book. and, of course, he was part of that mission, and he was -- and there were concerns about threats against him. what we've done in "the warrior's heart" and also in the heart of the fifth is publicly-available information about what happens in the navy seal training. but we've put it together in such a way that people can think not just about what navy seals do, but they can think on how they reflect on that and make it part of their own lives as they think about their own challenges. so i think because the books are different in that way, i haven't had any problems. and, in fact, we've had a tremendous amount of support. so it's been a lot of fun. yes, ma'am. >> how many navy seals are
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there, and when was it that the navy found the seals? >> great. so, um, on active duty right now the navy seals are the small special operations forest. so at any time there's probably between two and three thousand actual navy seals. and those navy seals are not only serving in seal ma toons on -- platoons on the front lines, they're working at places like the pentagon, central command and working in afghanistan and iraq and some of the headquarters, and so there's probably about 2,000 to 3,000 navy seals. they were started on january 1, 1962, by president john f. kennedy. and the reason why he started the seals was he wanted to have a force -- a seal, you may know, stands for sea, air and land commando. and what president kennedy wanted to do was he wanted to have a force of people, a dedicated and high will hi-trained force that -- highly-trained force that he could put in deadly situations who could not only respond tactically, but could also respond and use their minds and
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be thoughtful about working in some very difficult, dangerous situations. and his theory, the international relations thief ri that led to the development of the sale team was called the flexible response. and the idea was that the united states needed to be able to respond in a flexible manner, not just using nuclear weapons which was kind of the theory at the time. we needed to be able to respond in a flexible manner to any threat that was out there, and that's what led to the development of the seal team. you're very welcome. yes, sir. >> [inaudible] >> sure. so the question was would i care today to comment on the latest book about the bin laden raid. i actually, i don't think that that was a good, was a good book to write, um, and i'll tell you why. one is i've got tremendous respect for admiral mcraven, the four-star the navy seal admiral. he took over from admirable eric olsen, another four-star navy seal in charge of special operations command, and one of the things that admiral
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mcraven said was there were some classified or sensitive information in that book, and it's really important that we always keep that classified and sensitive information secret so that we can protect other navy seals when they conduct these operations in the future. i think the other thing that people in the seal commitment feel is that -- community feel is that, obviously, it's fine to write a book. my friend marcus luttrell has written a book, chris kyle, there are other navy seals who have written books to let people know about the force they are supporting, but this particular book was about a operation that was a team operation. and i think that the concern was this was something that an entire team did and because it was a team operation, if the story was going to come out, it should have come out from the team rather than from just one person. so that was kind of some of my reflections on the book thus far. did you have a question here? yes? okay. we'll do you next. yes, sir. >> with first, i just want to
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say thank you for your service. >> you're very welcome, sir. >> question is do you think with the details you go into with the sales training -- seals training, have you gotten any negative impact about pulling the curtain back, taking the misseek teak out of -- mystique out of the seals? >> we've actually had a lot of positive comments about this aspect of the training. admiral eric olsen, four-star navy seal admiral, i shared the book with him anytime, and one of the things that we found is that all of the things that i talk about are in the basic training. it's called the basic underwater demolition seal training. there have been discovery channel documentaries done on this training, lots of other videos produced on this training. when it comes to the advanced combat training, what we call the seal qualification training, you'll notice in the heart and the fist that that chapter's much shorter because it's important that a lot of those specific tactics, techniques and
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procedures, that they all remain secret. .. >> do you have kids? [laughter] >> what is your name? >> my name is caitlin. >> that is so great of you asked. and you know know what's funny? i think he just asked my mom's question. my mom was right over there. and i think he read her mind. this is the most important
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question probably that you could have asked. so i do not have kids yet. my wife is here. that's my wife. and one day, one day probably soon we are definitely plan to do that and we look forward to that. but right now i don't actually have kids. >> if you had kids, would you like them to be navy seals? >> that's a great question. kaitlyn's question was if i had kids what i want him to be navy seals? for me, the thing that is most important for my kids is that they do what they would love to be. that's the thing that would be most important to me. if they came to me and they told me that this is what they wanted to do, that they wanted to be a navy seal, i would support him and coach them in whatever way i could. but there are lots of different ways to serve. so what a would encourage them to do, i think every kid should do is find their own way to be a service. if this is what they wanted to do i would encourage him and support him. >> thank you.
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>> you're welcome, kaitlyn. thank you. [applause] >> how long is the seal training? >> what is your name? >> logan. >> logan, the seal training is about a year and a half to go to the basic seal trading. i join the military on january 20, 2001, and i officially became a navy seal on july 3, 2002. by the time i went through officer candidate school, the basic training and advanced seal train was about a year and a half of 20. one of the things we do, logan, is we always talk about always being in training. even when you get what we call the trident, which is that simple right up there, even when you put that on your chest and jeb officially become an navy seals we know for all of us the training never end. we always in our life, we always
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have to be learning from always have to be reading from always have to be training and be standing. that's part of the commitment of being a navy seal is that you're going to dedicate your life to finding ways to continue to grow and to learn. >> [inaudible] >> what was your name? so her question was, what advice do i have for young people who are aspiring to be navy seals. so one of the things that i we say again for the young people who are aspiring to be navy seals that is important for them to dedicate themselves to doing really well in school. one of the things we know about the seal team is actually it is the most highly educated in the united states military. and what we are looking for in the seal team are not just people of fiscal, courage and tactical proficiency. we're also looking for people who can be really thoughtful. i always emphasize that kids should spend a lot of time on their studies and they should develop their mind, develop the intellectual habits in their academic studies. second is i do encourage young
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people to get involved in athletics. and in athletics find ways, again to run up against hardship, to learn from coaches, to learn from mentors, children from role models. that's the second thing. the third thing we encourage, i always encourage him people to do is to find a way to start making a difference. find a way to start serving. i believe if young people can find a way to start serving in the community that eventually what happens is they will start building habits and they will build habits of teamwork. habits of learning what it takes to inspire people and difficult circumstances. to put them in place where they can one day be navy seals. i'm inspired by young people like will who decided he was going to create his own mission, and he did. he created his own mission and went out and he took his act and shopped back match -- chopped firewood. i always encourage young people
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to spend that i'm starting to get involved in athletics, develop themselves physically and to find ways to continue to serve in their community. sir? [inaudible] >> great question. the question was, we talk a lot about the physical training and how do we actually build psychological training is how do we build emotional strength so that when people going through these difficult situations they are better prepared to deal with situations that might lead to post dramatic stress disorder and to make the. one of the things we found that's important for do with post-traumatic stress disorder is its import for people to feel connected. when people come home and they feel connected and they feel understood, they feel understood by the family, by the community
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and feel understood by the team, it helps them to do with some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder one of things is so difficult that is if you add up every single person who has set foot in iraq or afghanistan, you add up all the people who set foot in iraq or afghanistan over the course of 11 years, it still adds up to less than 1% of the population. so what happens a lot of times is men and women will come back from serving in iraq or afghanistan, they might return to the community and the finder in a place where no one else has served. certainly no one else has been a frontline, they have an expense the kind of combat and they can feel isolated. one and we have to do is make sure people are connected to their families, to the team is, to their community. that's one thing we have to do. the second thing that we found, especially at the mission continues, one of the ways to step out of those difficult moments is to create that new mission. so that you are not stuck in a place where you are worried
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about what happens and you're not stuck in the pass. what we need to do is create a new mission for people when they come home. we found for our fellows, some of whom are in for difficult situations, some of them were considering committing suicide, some of whom had serious cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, waking up every night looking for rifles underneath their bed, having trouble being on college campuses. what happened for them was when they felt like they were needed again, when they felt like there was a mission again for them and they started to get involved in their community in a positive way, what happened was they were able to refocus a lot of that mental energy not on the past but on the future. and as they started to do that, they found ways to process what had happened. and we see the manifestation of some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder actually go down over time. i think the third and final thing we need to do for young men and women who have come home are facing this is to let them know that this is normal. it is an absolutely normal thing to have an abnormal reaction to
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an abnormal situation. a situation of extraordinary and violent and difficult and hardship, and is normal to come back and do not want is somebody stand behind you, do not want to be sitting at a restaurant in the middle of lots of people. that's a normal reaction to one of the things we have to do when people come back is to make sure that they now they, this is a normal and natural place, and let them know that there are many people who have been able and found ways to work through this. so we have to give them hope by letting them know this is normal, and that there are models for them of people have done this successfully. if we can do all that, keep people connected, let them know there's a sense of purpose, let them know it's all right with you at into great models for them, then we find that a lot of people didn't very secure -- severe cases of post-traumatic stress disorder are able to be the symptom, overcome the symptoms and find ways to lead real fulfilling lives begin back here at home. >> we have time for one more question. >> i was driving to work today
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and on npr they had a small segment on a question is how they're going to ask candidates tonight where they speculated they would ask what else could be done to improve lives of returning veterans. and to build on that question, i'm just curious, in addition to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder and your program at the mission continues, how would you like to see the candidates answer that question. what else is lacking that you would like to see them answer to that? >> great, great question. so i think one of the things lacking in the country is that we haven't really put the message out to the american public about what an incredible asset this group of veterans are who are coming home. so we have over, we have 2.4 million veterans have set foot in places like iraq and afghanistan, and as they come home what's important for us to recognize is that these men and women are bringing the leadership skills that come from that work. they are bring tremendous
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teamwork skills that come from their deployments. they know what it takes to inspire people and they can all be assets to the community. we need to get that message out that there should be welcomed home as assets. too often when people read about veterans or they think about veterans, they think about post-traumatic stress disorder. they think about traumatic brain injury. them i think about suicide, about unemployed. we focus on all these issues at all these problems. and what we found if we start to recognize veterans as assets and welcomed them home in that way, we ask them to continue their missions a public service that all of them not only rebuild a sense of purpose in life but they they also become stronger i don't do. so that's one of the things i would love to see happen in the country, and that's part of the conversation i think we should all have here as their fellow citizens. >> thank you very much, eric greitens. thank you very thank you very much coming tonight, everyone. [applause] >> visit booktv.org to watch any of the programs you see here
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online. type the author or book title in the search bar on the upper left side of the page and click search. you can share anything you see on booktv.org easily by clicking share on the upper left side of the page and selecting format. booktv streams live online for 48 hours every weekend with the top nonfiction books and authors. booktv.org. >> it really was scary. before we liberated. let's say baker county. but to have this happen, to have a blogger i mean, you were only trying to do the best that you can for everyone, and to have someone take your words, to use the equipment that they have today to cut and splice, to make
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your message appeared to be the exact opposite of what it was and what it is, is just an unbelievable situation. and it is the way to terrorize someone. because you don't know that you will ever really be able to get the truth out, but i was determined, even if i had to tell one person at a time, you know. >> so thin, it makes me think the whole media kind of energy around this book, but the last time there was this kind of media energy was that. it was july 2010 when it went down. we're going back to those places, people making those accusations, calling you a racist. the speed at which that happened, how did you feel being back in the space you have the whole story? >> it feels good to know that, that first of all that i was
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able to use that same media in a sense to be able to get the story, the right story out. it feels, gosh, i can explain how great it feels to be able to sit here, to hear the actors really, oh, my goodness, i don't know whether you saw me, i was crying a little. it's really amazing. i didn't ever think -- i made the decision years ago that i didn't want people to forget my father and what he meant to us. i had no idea i would be able to tell the story in this way. it feels great. >> what's so beautiful about this book is i feel like it's more than a book. it's a living history. it's like a love letter to choices. and it reminds us that without the feei

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